Ag Expo dedicated to former chair

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Chester Harth dedicated himself to agriculture and the New Mexico Ag Expo, say his friends. For that reason, this year’s event that starts Tuesday at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds is dedicated to his memory.

Harth died last year, a few months after chairing the Ag Expo for the second time. Organizers say he was involved with the 16-year-old event all but two years and actively worked to make it a success. His passion was organizing the antique tractor demonstrations and parade each year.

“Chester had been with the committee since its inception,” said Patrick Kircher, Roosevelt County extension agent. “He was just a super good guy and he really believed in the Expo and he was always there to do what ever needed to be done.”

“His whole life was dedicated to agriculture so that’s why we decided it was fitting to dedicate this year’s even to him,” said Sharon King, Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce executive director.

The Expo begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday with a brief dedication ceremony, King said.

The Expo was started as a way to bring an agricultural trade show to eastern New Mexico, and with attendance expected in the thousands and 155 exhibitors registered for this year’s event, its success is obvious.

“Last year we had over 4,000 people come through the gates to attend,” said Terry Ervin, Ag Expo chairman. “We’re hoping that will be even larger this year.”

Kircher said the variety of seminars alone make the Expo valuable to ag producers but he says that’s not where it stops.

“I really believe the Expo is a multi-pronged approach,” Kircher said. “It’s an opportunity to bring vendors with the latest technology right to our doorstep. It’s a great opportunity for folks here in New Mexico to come in and talk to someone who might have a product or tool they can utilize.”

Kircher says that people could probably find the same products online or through a catalog but he says a lot of people still prefer to learn about new things face-to-face.

Another benefit of the Expo Kircher notes is the ability to bring together the growing dairy industry.

While dairy seminars aren’t a part of this year’s slate, there will be a good number of vendors related to that industry, say organizers. According Ervin, the dairy heifer sale is back at the Expo this year and will be an important part of the two-day event.

Ervin said this year Orin Barnes, who does working dog clinics has agreed to take 10 local dog owners under his wing for awhile during his demonstrations and give them tips on training the dog to work stock.

The chairman says another seminar that promises to be informative is Michael Richardson’s “Enlightened Horsemanship” workshop. Ervin says Richardson, who is a parapelgic, trains horses from his wheelchair.

One notable change this year is that the Women’s exhibits have been moved into the Merchant’s Building to better utilize the space.

Lunch will be available both days. On Tuesday the Rotary Club will be serving a smoked pork chop dinner. On Wednesday Bum Steer brisket barbecue by Randy Small will be served.

There is no admission to the Expo but the luncheons are $12 for the pork chops and $10 for the brisket. The gates are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

9 a.m. — Expo and exhibits open
10 a.m. — Enlightened Horsemanship, Michael Richardson, Hico, Texas, Show Arena
11 a.m. — Antique Tractor Parade, Midway
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Chuck Wagon Lunch, $12, Portales Rotary Club
Noon — DFA Dairymen’s Lunch, Dairy Building
1 p.m. — Farming with GPS Wagner Equipment, Cacahuate Room, Jake Lopez Convention Center
1:30 p.m. — Antique Tractor Games
2 p.m. — Enlightened Horsemanship, Michael Richardson, Hico, Texas, Show Arena
2 p.m. — Antique Tractor Parade
5 p.m. — Expo Closes

9 a.m. — Expo and exhibits open
10 a.m. — Working Dog Clinic, Orin Barnes, Canyon, Texas, Show Arena
10:30 a.m. — Alternative Crop Use and Production for Biofuels, Can New Mexico be a major player?, Dr. Mark Marsalis and Dr. Sangu Angadi, NMSU Extension Agronomist and Crop Physiologist, Dairy Building
10:30 a.m. — Eat Smart Cooking, Connie Moyers, Roosevelt County Extension Home Economist, Cacahuate Room, Jake Lopez Convention Center
10:30 a.m. — Antique Tractor Games
11 a.m. — Antique Tractor Parade, Midway
Noon — Lunch, Bum Steer BBQ, $10
1:30 p.m. — Working Dog Clinic, Orin Barnes, Canyon, Texas, Show Arena
1:30 p.m. — Trichomoniasis in New Mexico, Dr. John Wenzel, NMSU Extension Veterinarian, Dairy Building
2 p.m. — Antique Tractor Parade
3 p.m. — Premium Grade and Registered Dairy Heifer Sale, Portales Livestock, Sale Tent
5 p.m. — Expo closes